My idea of a romantic comedy!
Last night I had the pleasure of introducing the boyfriend to the 1971 film Harold & Maude. How he managed to make it to age thirtysomething without ever seeing it sooner shows an utter lack of regard from his friends and family, and we can only praise Allah that I showed up in his life.
Oddly enough, we seem devoted to cinema circa ’71 this week, as the films featured in our fetching living room all hail from that year. Before Harold & Maude was The Andromeda Strain, a movie which may well be the most boring sci-fi thriller ever to be shot, but was so beautiful we couldn’t stop looking. Oh, so boring! Imagine the longest, highest budget, fantastically designed instructional video ever, or if Stanley Kubrick had decided to make 2001: A Space Odyssey without all that pesky meaning.
Before that was Ciao! Manhattan, the enigmatic art film that accidentally became a biographical piece on tragic, subculture superstar, Edie Sedgwick. I hesitate to comment further on this particular work, because it presently consumes me in my career and I’m sure I’ll be devoting an entire blog to it someday soon. But if you’re a fan of all-things-touching Warhol’s Factory, the film is a must-see. Or if you just want to see a lot of full frontal nudity from a former Vogue model who’d recently gotten a boob job, there’s that.
The vaguely menacing charm of vintage postcards.
When on vacation, I am a social snob. It breaks down this way: If you are a resident of where I’m vacationing or its surrounding area, I’ll love to talk with you. Whether banal chit-chat, deep, psychological explorations, or wildly unfounded and ignorant political positioning, I love hob-knobbing with a local of Anytown, Planet Earth.
However, if you are a tourist like me, every second I spend in your presence is like chalk being scrapped down my gutted and exposed spine. Ever seen the movie Somewhere in Time? There’s a moment where the hero discovers a reminder of where he comes from, and it shatters the paradise he’s discovered. That’s what another tourist’s face is to me: a shinny penny sucking me into a loveless present where the only escape is death.
“What do I do for a living? Apparently, I suffer fools gladly. And you?”
Make no mistake: I am not proud of this. It doesn’t come from a sense of elitism, rather, a jealous and desperate need for freedom from the burden of self-identification. I am often exhausted being me, and vacationing offers a rare moment where I get to be a different fellow. If I’m constantly having to re-establish myself to others as “a writer from Los Angeles,” etcetera, it won’t matter that I’m fiendishly clever and dashingly handsome – I’ll still be sick of my effing face.
The boyfriend doesn’t have this problem. Though technically an introvert, according to the Keirsey Temperament Scale, he can navigate most any social situation with aplomb. A master at multi-tasking, he’s capable of satisfying endless rounds of small talk by using them as an opportunity to gather useful information and think about what he needs to do at the office the next day. I, on the other hand, am locked into whatever conversation I’m having, heart and soul – so if it’s small talk, I start to suffer from claustrophobia.
"But, are they organic?"
When I go somewhere, I like to linger for over a week in the same area – as opposed to globe-trotting – because experience has taught me it takes a good while to get one’s bearings. The first week in a new location is what I call the “expensive week”, because you end up spending a lot of money before you learn how to do things like a local. It’s important to plan ahead and be aware of this: no impulse buying for the first week, and remain flexible for meal planning and lounging locations; most importantly of all, ask as many locals in whatever location you are for where they go, what they eat, what they like; it never fails that, without emphasizing your interest in their preferences, you are going to be led to the same few tourist traps all outsiders are, and they'll be an expensive shadow of the real thing.
Here’s some red-flag words: plush, decadent, local-style, distilled, anything served on ‘skewers’. These are buzz-words that may alert you to the fact that you have been caught in a tourist trap. DON’T PANIC! If it’s too late to leave, just keep ordering down to a minimum (you can always eat again afterwards) and for the love of God, don’t buy anything you can wear (especially if the price tag looks ‘home-made’), or purchase anything you can clean/perfume your body with (beware of soap bars cut into irregular shapes!), or condiments that come in a tiny jar, i.e., raw honey with truffle, jasmine sugar pearls, or virgin priestess eyelashes candied in unicorn mustard.
Waking up on a Hawaiian Island is pretty much the radliest, so I was happy to do it; happier still to begin my first full day on Maui. My brain was brimming with ideas for fun and adventurous activities I could postpone in lieu of doing nothing, but for this I first needed calories I wouldn’t burn.
They don’t make better calories than in Hawaii. It’s all about salty, sweet, and fat, with a side of the freshest, juiciest fruit you’ve ever had. Talk about mixed messages: Here you go, tummy, a meal of simple, raw, nutrient-rich papaya and pineapple. Oh, and also here’s some SPAM fried in noodles with sugar gravy, mayonnaise pork and buttery, buttered butter in butter sauce with butter butter salt butter salted sugar butter. Side of butter. (Salt.)
The boyfriend and I decided to put on some clothing (after repeated, negative breakfast experiences without it) and made our way to the buffet at our hotel. We found a table overlooking the Pacific. Between us and it was a walking trek that many people were using for jogging. How… insensitive. Didn’t they know I was trying to punch as many macadamia nut pancakes down my gullet as possible? And their obnoxious exercise routine was bumming my trip, man – reminding me I was a gross slob with nary a single definable “ab”. But this coconut syrup isn’t going to drink itself, people!
As the boyfriend went out in search of an iced soy latte (you can take the Angelino out of LA, but you can’t LA out of an Angelino), I drank my drip and marveled at the simple beauty of the double-rainbow that stretched from the middle of the turquoise water to the clouds above Kauai. How perfect… how poetic…